Note: the following scenario was inspired by a textbook controversy that took place in the 1990s, far away from Alabama. The scenario itself is fictitious; it has been designed to help you understand how race relations in the United States shaped the town of Maycomb, Alabama, which is central to Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird.
Your local school board has recently purchased new Grade Eight textbooks about American history. While the textbooks are well-designed and engaging, they have one serious flaw: the textbooks barely mention race relations in the United States. On Monday, you and your fellow citizens of a small Alabama town will confront the publisher at a school board meeting; you will urge the publisher to create a supplementary resource that will help your children understand this complex and challenging aspect of American history.
What You Will Do Today
You may either study one of the following events -, or get a general understanding of all of the items below. If you choose one event, you must consult at least three sources:
- The Middle Passage
- indentured servitude
- Jim Crow Laws
- The Scottsboro Boys
- Rosa Parks
Your sources may include:
- grade-appropriate sources on the internet
- Still I Rise
- http://www.learn360.com/index.aspx (ask me for the password)
Once you have gathered your facts, you need to prepare an argument for Monday’s meeting. Remember that your goal is convince the publisher that students must learn about these events from American history. Remember that you already know a little about Emmett Till and Martin Luther King; you may add references to them in your argument.